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Vist NZ

Note any goods containing plant or animal material may be a biosecurity risk to New Zealand. These include Rakhi threads made with seeds or flowers; sweets (mithai) which contain milk, such as barfi and mysore pak; and grains and dried fruits. Help protect our environment by not bringing any vegetation or animal products.

NZ's Rodent Epidemic

Growing by the day

Mouse population explodes in Australia

Rats and mice have always sought a close relationship with human beings in part because we produce food in bulk and we are somewhat messy. But not only do we leave food lying around for them, we build nice warm and secure shelters for them to live in.

This is unintentional on our part, simply a consequence of our lifestyle that rodents take full advantage of. They have featured significantly in our history in part because of their nuisance value, but more because they carry disease and parasites like fleas that can transmit another level of disease like bubonic plague and other pestilences that can result in the death of

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Kaikoura Earthquake 2016 - updated

14-11-2016 00:04 A.M.

Travel update 21-12-2016

As of today, Kaikoura can now be accessed via State Highway one as well as by the inland route from Culverden. You can expect minor delays as road crews are still working to improve sections of the highways, but the people of Kaikoura will be delighted to see you.

Travel update 18-11-2016

The inland resort town of Hanmer Springs is slightly damaged but has re-opened for business. All pools are open, including the water slides and accommodation.

For anyone planning on using the Cook Strait ferries, Interislander and Bluebridge services have resumed. However the best option for anyone wanting to travel between the

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The North of the North

Kaitaia and Cape Rianga

Spirits Bay

Known as the Aupouri Peninsula, this is one of the most remote districts of New Zealand. Kaitaia, the only town is near the base of the peninsula and about 160 km northwest of Whangarei. The main industries are agriculture, forestry and tourism. The population is 4,887 (2013 census), which makes it second largest town in the Far North District, after Kerikeri.

You can get there by air or bus from Auckland or Whangarei, and when you get there, there are many small tourist operators who will take you out to see the sights but the best way is self driving. But when you drive north of Kaitaia, you need to make sure you

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The 1080 Debate

The people vs big brother

Fatally poisoned and waiting for death

1080 is a metabolic poison that is extremely toxic to all air-breathing organisms. It blocks the body’s muscle and organs ability to absorb energy from its food, and results in a slow and inhumane death, typically 8 -24 hours for birds, 2-4 days for large mammals. There is no known antidote for this deadly poison.

New Zealand has a very real problem with introduced species of plants and animals that are displacing all indigenous species. To control weeds, the country is pouring massive amounts of Roundup and other highly toxic weed killers over the land that end up in the food chain for us to consume.

Similarly,

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Privatisation of Mental Health Care

The changing face of New Zealand

Back in the 1950s, times were changing and people’s awareness of the world around them was expanding. The insane asylums had been around for many years but they were becoming something of a social embarrassment to governments who had little idea what to do those who could not function in the fast changing world.

The mental asylums as well as accommodating dysfunctional were also experimental facilities for electric shock treatment and new drug trials. They also became alternative places to prison for people that governments didn’t like and yet they had sufficient credibility that people who were feeling out of sorts with the world could admit themselves.

In hindsight we can see that a

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Tekapo

Lakeside resort town

Dawn over the lake, May 2016

Traditionally Tekapo has been a gas and comfort stop on the route between Christchurch and Queenstown. Fifty years ago the town would have had about as many permanent residents, but today like so many other small towns, it’s bursting at the seams and struggling to cater for the increasing number of tourists.

Back in the old days, working people from the East Coast cities and towns may have had a weekend holiday home at Tekapo where they could go boating and fishing or use the village as a base to explore further afield into the mountains. Today it has a permanent population of about 380 and is one of five

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Trade Deals and Our Health

What’s the deal for our health?

In case you haven’t heard, there are two trade deals being negotiated. One is the Transatlantic Trade Agreement and the other is the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement (TPP). These deals are being promoted by governments to the people as a means of facilitating trade and improving the economies of the countries involved.

While government is supposed to be transparent and serve the needs of people, these trade deals have been negotiated in total secrecy. Part way through the negotiations, some of the detail on these trade agreements was published on WikiLeaks and it became clear that ordinary citizens are dispensable.

As more information was released into the public domain, opinions on

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The new face of banking

The great rip off

This is not about the new faceless service in you local bank branch, this is more a warming of a trend in the way banking is conducted and the collusion between banks and government.

The market crash of 2008 was reported in a way that a few people understood it and today the silent majority rather than inform themselves and find a voice on the matter, generally prefer to turn the minds toward some trivia than what really affects their lives.

The other day I wrote about the word response-ability that most of us know as responsibility. The old meaning is to have an ability to respond but the modern meaning is to take the

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New Zealand - Pre Maori

Fact or Fiction?

While a few shipwrecks have been found predating Captain Cook, there is a general quietness and you could say even an official suppression of discussions and evidence of life in New Zealand before the arrival of the Maori.

Of the shipwrecks, there is one in the Dargaville museum, there was another thrown up by a storm of Hokitika in 2014 and the initial discussions throw out ideas of it being the Spanish Galleon, however all trace of this find seems to have vanished from the public record.

But Europeans before James Cook and Abel Tasman, we must assume are probable, but what about before the Maori?

DNA and other evidence traces some Maori back through Hawaii to

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Auckland Winter

The big grey

Auckland’s 328 metre high Sky Tower

A peculiarity of Auckland city is that it’s so often overcast, not particularly cold, just that the sky is dull and given to drizzle and light rain. Actually in wintertime the beaches and outdoor recreation areas are far less crowded so don’t be put off getting out for some fresh air.

The city itself is all about cars, shopping and eating. It’s about cars because you need a car to get anywhere and to know where you’re going, you need a good navigator or a GPS unit. Over the past 20 years, the city has evolved miles of confusing motorways and it’s very easy to go in the wrong direction,

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